Keyboard stabilizers. One of the most fundamental components of the keyboard, yet not as flashy as keycaps or stylish as a case, therefore easily forgotten.
This guide is meant to be an introductory material for those starting out in the hobby, who are confused by the very similar names on stabilizers, but different purposes.
What is a stabilizer and what is used for?
In short, stabilizers help stabilize keycaps from rattling, pinging, and shaking when typing. Stabilizers are only needed on bigger keycaps, such as a shift, backspace, or space. (Anything that is 2U in size or greater)
What are the different types of stabilizers?
There are many general types of stabilizers. Generally, there are 3 main types: Cherry style, Costar, and Optical. Most of this guide, however, will focus on the mounting styles of the cherry style stabilizers, since most keyboards will use this type of stabilizer.
Cherry Styled Stabilizers
Cherry-styled stabilizers are the most common, and most moddable type of stabilizers. Within cherry types, we find different mounting styles, such as plate mounted, Screw-ins (or PCB mounted), and snap-ins (Also called PCB mounted)
Plate-mounted stabilizers are the most common mounting style and are typically found on almost all pre-built mechanical keyboards. These stabilizers attach to the metal plate inside the keyboard instead of directly to the printed circuit board (PCB).
Plate-mounted stabilizers are considered the least effective mounting style by enthusiasts because they tend to rattle more and vibrate with the aluminum plate when typing, although this can be avoided with modding.
Screw-in stabilizers mount directly into the PCB and are attached with screws. This mounting style is considered the best because the stabilizers are much more secure and will vibrate less.
Screw-in stabilizers are typically only found on custom-made keyboards, not so much on pre-builts, which makes them less common overall, but a common mounting style in the enthusiasts scene.
Snap-in stabilizers are another PCB mounted stabilizer type. This type mounts by “snapping in” on the PCB. Mixing the ease of access, as the PCB does not need to have supporting mounting holes, with a bit more stability. In other words, they are better than plate-mounted, but not quite as effective as screw-in